JUNE 4, 2021
Bottas denies blame for botched Monaco pitstop
Valtteri Bottas has hit back at his Mercedes boss's suggestion that the Finnish driver was at least partly to blame for his retirement from the Monaco GP.
Bottas' rejoinder comes amid high uncertainty about whether the 31-year-old will be replaced by George Russell for 2022.
"We haven't discussed anything yet," he said on Thursday, speaking via internet link after his flight to Azerbaijan was reportedly delayed for technical reasons.
"But the moment for negotiations will definitely come - I think next month, in July. So everything will happen soon, but it's not time yet," added Bottas.
At the very same time, he is clearly not willing to simply accept boss Toto Wolff's claim that Bottas did not correctly position his car for the botched pitstop - and terminally-stuck wheel-nut - that caused his retirement at Monaco.
"I was surprised," Bottas admitted, when asked about Wolff having pointed the finger of blame.
"I looked at the video footage and, in my opinion, I was spot on."
He also revealed that he and Wolff "haven't really talked about" the incident.
"The team and I held a normal post-race briefing, we analysed the situation also with the engineers at the factory and they understood everything perfectly," Bottas insisted.
"So there was nothing unusual about the analysis of the race.
"I missed the middle line by about 2 or 3 centimetres, and if you're that accurate, that's actually pretty good," Bottas is quoted by international publications.
"We also had concerns about the pitstops for a few weeks, so the problem didn't come out of the blue."
Meanwhile, Bottas' teammate Lewis Hamilton hit reverse gear on Thursday after suggesting at Monaco that the team was mostly to blame for his poor weekend.
"You don't always say the best things in the heat of the moment," the seven time world champion admitted.